Letter: Ridgefield voters can turn a negative into a positive with 'yes' vote

To the Editor:

With a resounding vote “yes” and “yes,” Ridgefield residents on Feb. 22 at 7:30 p.m. in the lower level conference room at Town Hall have the opportunity to turn two town buildings (an auditorium and the Philip Johnson building) on the former Schlumberger property from a current negative value into two town buildings with positive value monetarily, culturally, and aesthetically. ACT of CT is the proposed lesee of the auditorium. At their own expense, ACT of CT, a local, nonprofit theater production company, will renovate and maintain the auditorium, ultimately providing both live theater and an educational performing arts program. This adds another vibrant, creative venue for the residents of Ridgefield and visitors to Ridgefield to enjoy and provides a place where young people can develop their theatrical talents. BassamFellows, the proposed lesee of the Philip Johnson building, is a modern design company currently located in New Canaan. The Philip Johnson building has great architectural significance and should be saved as a living example of his work. At their own expense, the owners of BassamFellows will rescue this deteriorated building, renovate it, and maintain the building for their design center headquarters and showroom. The building, on occasion, will be open for public viewing.

As a member of the Schlumberger Citizens Committee, I wholeheartedly endorse the proposed uses of these two buildings and urge all Ridgefield residents to vote yes on each lease agreement. The town maintains ownership of the buildings while the value of the property and of the leases goes up over time. A theatrical venue will be created and the Philip Johnson building will be saved; both will be enjoyed and appreciated by residents of Ridgefield and welcome visitors to our town.

Lynda Hanley